Local air quality strategy and action plan for South Tyneside

Published March 2023 An accessible strategy document from southtyneside.gov.uk


The quality of the air that we breathe plays a major part in the overall health of our community and it is our aspiration that all residents and visitors to South Tyneside can enjoy good air quality that will not pose a risk to their health and wellbeing. Air quality is however a cross cutting theme which also has implications for our natural environment and the local economy and whilst our latest assessment of air quality shows that South Tyneside is compliant with the national air quality objectives, we cannot be complacent.

Over the next five years, with the help of our partners and stakeholders we will embrace every opportunity to fulfil our objectives and deliver the Air Quality action plan. These actions will help us to meet the significant challenges associated with encouraging economic growth whilst at the same time ensuring the environment is not adversely affected.

In addition we must acknowledge the rise in technology and innovation which is allowing us to improve the way we measure and reduce pollutants and increasing the availability of cleaner modes of transport.

This strategy will help to ensure our residents are well informed of the health risks posed by poor air quality and better equip them for ‘active’ and ‘cleaner’ travel.

Lastly, if we are to be successful then we cannot underestimate the importance of working together. This strategy will promote collaborative working to ensure that air quality is a consideration for all council departments and external stakeholders. Better air quality is in everyone’s interests, and we must make it everyone’s business. It is this focus that will drive our ambition and our contribution to the Council’s vision for South Tyneside to be a place where people live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives.

Councillor Margaret Meling Lead Member for Economic Growth, Skills and Climate Change
Councillor Ernest Gibson Lead Member for Transport and Neighbourhoods


Air pollution is a significant public health challenge. Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. There is good evidence that poor air quality has substantial impact on, amongst other things, the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease and lung health. It has both short and long-term health effects and has a particular impact on children as they grow.

There are several principal air pollutants produced by industrial, domestic and traffic sources; they include: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide/ nitrogen dioxide (NO2), PM10 and PM2.5. For South Tyneside, the principal source of Nitrogen Dioxide is road transport.

Epidemiological studies have shown that long-term exposure to air pollution (over years or lifetimes) reduces life expectancy. Short-term exposure (over hours or days) to elevated levels of air pollution can also cause a range of health impacts, including effects on lung function, exacerbation of asthma, increases in respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions and mortality.

In 2017, the total NHS and social care cost due to PM2.5 and NO2 was estimated to be £42.9 million in England. If no action is taken to improve air quality and trends continue, costs could escalate to £5.3 billion by 2035.

Air pollutants are emitted from a range of both man-made and natural sources. Many everyday activities such as transport, industrial processes, farming, energy generation and domestic heating can all have a detrimental effect on air quality.

The Council’s Vision and links to the Local Air Quality Strategy

South Tyneside Council has a renewed 20-year vision for the whole of the Borough. The key goal is for South Tyneside to be a place where people live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. This vision is based on five core ambitions including that South Tyneside residents be healthy and well throughout their lives and are part of strong communities. For the shorter-term, and in direct response to the pandemic, the Council has set out five Community priorities to provide a sharper focus on recovery. The Council’s 12-month delivery plan provides focus on the key activities and projects that will contribute towards the five ‘Community Priorities’ of:

  • supporting our young people in need,
  • supporting families and older or vulnerable people,
  • creating the conditions for economic recovery and investment,
  • supporting all our town centres, villages, high streets and hospitality, and
  • Investing in our natural and built environment.

This Strategy sets out the aims of the Council, working with partners, for the improvement of air quality in South Tyneside for the long-term, contributing to each of the Community Priorities, as improved air quality has considerable benefits for the health of all our communities and with positive impacts for businesses and South Tyneside’s natural environment.

Protection and improvement of the environment is a top priority for the Council and its partners who have pledged their commitment to tackling Climate Change in ‘Sustainable South Tyneside 2020-2025’. Theme 3 of the strategy addresses transportation, including staff travel, and looks to reduce vehicle emissions, the most significant contributor to poor air quality. Implementation of the Air Quality Action Plan will directly support Sustainable South Tyneside 2020-2025.

Whilst the Local Authority will lead on a large number of initiatives, the aims of the strategy cannot be realised without the full co-operation and engagement of external stakeholders, including our residents.

Why do we need a Local Air Quality Strategy?

The negative health effects of air pollutants are discussed in detail below. Exposure to pollution in the atmosphere has been recognised by Government as the UK’s biggest challenge, shortening lifespans and damaging quality of life for many.

As a result of new development in South Tyneside there is the potential for an increase in the number of people living and working in the Borough. It is important therefore that we take steps to mitigate the risk that air quality is negatively impacted as a result, by taking a proactive approach to mitigation.

The Government is planning to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040. We must continue to take action to reduce NO2 pollution generated from vehicle use. We must also acknowledge that vehicles are not the only source of emissions; we must also strive to understand more diffuse sources of pollution including smaller industrial sites, product use, open fires in homes, and through this strategy take the steps required to secure improvements.

Air pollutants are closely linked with emissions of other gases that cause serious harm to ecosystems and the environment, such as climate change gases. The reduction of air pollutants will be beneficial in terms of human health and will also benefit the wider environment.

Development of a Local Air Quality Strategy that sets clear objectives for South Tyneside is considered key to driving down levels of pollutants and improving local air quality, leading to improved health for residents and visitors. This Local Air Quality Strategy will deliver a number of benefits. It will:

  • emphasise the Council’s role in delivering cleaner air
  • help to tackle air quality in a holistic way
  • help to build and strengthen partnerships with business, the community and external stakeholders, to achieve cleaner air in South Tyneside.
  • build for the future by enabling economic regeneration that recognises air quality as a major consideration at an early stage.
  • highlighting the reasons for tackling poor air quality, i.e. the links to health, quality of life and climate change.
  • raise the profile of air quality in South Tyneside
  • forge links with other initiatives and plans
  • encourage partnership working with the voluntary, public and private sectors, as well as individual members of the public/community groups

This Strategy will be subject to regular review to ensure that it remains in line with national measures and continues to reflect current thinking and best practice. The live action plan will be reviewed annually with progress reported to Defra.

Air pollutants and sources of pollutants

Air pollution is a mixture of particles and gases that can have adverse effects on human health.

Historically, the main air pollutants have been high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide emitted by combustion of sulphur containing fossil fuels such as coal. More recently the most important primary air pollutants are particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Particulate matter such as PM10, PM2.5, PM1 and PM0.1 is defined as the fraction of particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than respectively 10, 2.5, 1 and 0.1 µm (1 µm = 1 millionth of a metre or 1 thousandth of a millimetre). PM is inhaled into the lungs and ultrafine PM0.1 is thought to pass into the blood causing many adverse outcomes including systemic inflammation.

The principal source of particulate matter is road transport, combustion processes and industrial processes.

The principal source of Nitrogen Dioxide is road transport; combustion processes such as power generation and industrial processes also provide a significant contribution. The primary source of Nitrogen Dioxide emissions in South Tyneside is road traffic.

The most common pollutants along with associated health effects are listed below:

Common pollutants
Pollutant Health effect
Nitrogen dioxide High levels cause inflammation to the airways of the lungs. Long term exposure can reduce lung function. Can enhance the effect of allergens in sensitive individuals.
Particulate matter Short and long term exposure is associated with respiratory and cardiovascular illness.
Sulphur dioxide Causes constriction of the airways of the lungs.
Carbon monoxide Reduces the uptake of oxygen in the blood: this can lead to a reduction of oxygen to body tissues.
Ozone High concentration can irritate the eyes and nose. Very high levels can cause inflammation to the airways of the lungs.

The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) has provided advice on the health effects of exposure to fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). COMEAP have advised:

  • a focus on reducing long-term average concentrations of PM2.5 is appropriate
  • newer evidence indicates that PM2.5 pollution can have harmful effects on people’s health at lower concentrations than had been studied previously
  • continuing to reduce concentrations to, or below, the World Health Organization’s new Air Quality Guideline (5µg/m3) would benefit public health
Where air pollutants go in our bodies and what they do
System Effects
Eyes, nose and throat 5µg/m3 or NO2 over 200µg/m3 irritates the eyes, nose and throat
Brain and central nervous system PM can cause strokes. Ultrafine PM has been found in samples of brain and central nervous system tissue.
Lungs Poor air quality affects everyone. It can have long term impacts on all and immediate effects on vulnerable people, with a disproportionate impact on the young and old, the sick and the poor.
Heart Heart and blood vessel diseases like strokes and hardening of the arteries are one of the main effects of air pollution. These can be caused by a few years exposure to even low levels of PM2.5.

Exposure for a few hours to high levels of PM2.5 can bring on existing illness or strokes and heart attacks in all people.
Liver Ultrafine PM can get into the blood throughout the body. Ultrafine particles have been found in body organs.
Reproductive system PM has been found in the reproductive organs and in unborn children.

Who is at risk?

Air pollution is a problem that affects everyone; however, the impact of air pollution on health is not distributed equally within a population, often falling on the most deprived communities and the most vulnerable individuals. Other groups disproportionately affected include older people, children, pregnant women, individuals with existing medical conditions, and communities in areas of higher pollution.

Current understanding of the health outcomes and impacts

Air pollution damages lives with harmful effects on human health, the economy and the environment. It is the largest environmental risk to the public’s health, contributing to cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases. It increases the chances of hospital admissions, visits to Emergency Departments and respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms which interfere with everyday life. In the most severe cases it increases the risk of death, especially for people who are already vulnerable.

The three main conditions associated with air pollution are respiratory conditions (such as asthma and COPD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and lung cancer, and there is emerging evidence for associations with dementia, low birth weight and Type 2 diabetes.

Local health context

Local authorities have a central role in achieving improvements in air quality to benefit their residents. In order to do this successfully it is important to understand the context in which they are working and how this compares and differs from other areas.

People born in South Tyneside have a lower life expectancy than the national average. A male born in South Tyneside could expect to live to the age of 77.5 which is 1.8 years less than the national average 79.3. A female born in South Tyneside could expect to live to the age of 81.5 years which is 1.6 years less than the national average of 83.1.

Life expectancy data does not show how long people can expect to live in good health. For this we can look at the Healthy Life Expectancy indicators.

A male born in South Tyneside can expect to live in good health (without disability or poor health) up until the age of 59.4; this is 4 years less than the national average. A female born in South Tyneside can expect to live in good health until 58.8; this is 5 years less than the national average.

On top of this there are stark inequalities in life expectancy that exist within our borough as outlined in the 2018 Annual Report of the Director of Public Health for South Tyneside through the story of Jack, who was born into the most deprived area and Emily, who is from the least deprived.

Emily had a healthy life expectancy of 71.2 and an overall life expectancy of 87, whereas Jack had a healthy life expectancy of 52.7 and an overall life expectancy of 74.9.

The three main conditions which evidence shows are strongly associated with poor air quality are cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cancer. The chart below shows that South Tyneside has a similar rate of cardiovascular disease when compared to England as a whole and a statistically higher rate for both respiratory disease and cancer. Whilst it is important to note that other lifestyle factors play a role in these conditions, such statistics help to demonstrate the potential positive impact of air quality improvements on both the prevention and management of these conditions.

Bar chart of premature mortality rates (under 75) per 100,000 population in South Tyneside and England
Premature mortality rates (under 75) per 100,000 population
Cause of death South Tyneside England
Cardiovascular disease 73.6 72.5
Respiratory disease 57.5 34.3
Cancer 155.8 134.6
  • Emergency admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is significantly worse in South Tyneside at 801 per 100,000 population in comparison to England at 415 per 100,000.
  • Hospital admissions for asthma in children (birth to 9 years) are 449.9 per 100,000 as opposed to the England rate of 255.8 per 100,000.
  • The hospital admission rate for young people aged 10 -18 is 258.9 per 100,000, twice the England rate. This has seen a continual increase from 2010. It should be noted however that numbers associated with this rate are fairly low at 37.

Diseases can be worsened by poor air quality, emphasising the importance of continued monitoring of air quality and action to reduce the impact of air pollution on the health of our residents.

Impact of Covid 19 on Local Air Quality Management

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on society. Inevitably, COVID-19 has also had an impact on the environment, with implications for air quality on a local, regional and national scale.

COVID-19 has presented opportunities to improve local air quality:

  • Town Hall occupancy rates, at the height of the pandemic, reduced by 50%, with Council staff encouraged to work from home through an agile working policy. This led to a considerable reduction in the pollutants associated with staff travel to and from the workplace.
  • In 2021, the Council’s Cycle to Work scheme received 100 applications, three times the number of applications when compared to the previous year.
  • Throughout the pandemic the Local Authority has pushed ahead with plans to decarbonise the fleet, in 2021 13 new electric vans were ordered.

Further work to change behaviour, embrace active travel, increase the proportion of EV vehicles in the council fleet and to implement flexible working arrangements will be further explored in the action plan attached to the strategy.

Government policy

The Government published its Clean Air Strategy in January 2019. The strategy sets out how the government will:

  • protect the nation’s health
  • protect the environment
  • secure clean growth and innovation
  • reduce emissions from transport, homes, farming and industry
  • monitor progress

The strategy seeks to strengthen, simplify and update the legislative framework that applies at a local level, in order to both drive and enable further reductions in local concentrations of air pollution. The strategy acknowledges that the current Government framework and local air quality management does not incentivise prevention of poor air quality and action plans are only produced after monitoring identifies exceedance of legal limits. New legislation therefore will seek to shift this focus towards prevention.

The Environment Act 2021 will introduce two legally binding air quality targets for PM2.5. The proposed targets are:

  • Annual Mean Concentration Target ('concentration target') - a maximum concentration of 10µg/m3 to be met across England by 2040
  • Population Exposure Reduction Target ('exposure target') - a 35% reduction in population exposure by 2040 (compared to a base year of 2018)

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) went out to consultation on the proposed targets and received over 180,000 responses from a range of individuals, businesses and other organisations.

In light of the volume of material and the significant public response it has not possible for the Government to publish the updated environmental targets as originally intended by the end of October 2022.

South Tyneside will update the action plan linked to the strategy to acknowledge the impending change to the Government set objective level for PM2.5 and to include new initiatives/ measures undertaken to improve upon levels of PM2.5.

Burning wood and coal in open fires and stoves makes up 38% of the UK’s primary emissions of fine particulate matter. Domestic solid fuels should already comply with The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020. Within the National Air Quality Strategy the Government has also committed to:

  • ensuring that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022
  • making changes to existing smoke control legislation to make it easier to enforce
  • giving new powers to local authorities to take action in areas of high pollution
  • working across government to look at opportunities to align our work on air quality, clean growth and fuel poverty in future policy design
  • developing a dedicated communication campaign targeted at domestic burners, to improve awareness of the environmental and public health impacts of burning
  • working with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market

This Strategy and Action Plan will be updated to reflect future policy and legislative changes, as required.

Statutory requirements

European Directives on air quality EU limit values are legally binding parameters that must not be exceeded. Limit values are set for individual pollutants and are made up of a concentration value, an average? time over which it is to be measured and the number of exceedances permitted each year. Limit values are targets that must be achieved by the Government. Compliance data is gathered annually by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and reported back to the EU. Current limit values can be found below:

Pollutant Air Quality Objective:
Air Quality Objective:
Measured as
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) 200µg/m3 not to be exceeded more than 18 times a year 1-hour mean
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) 40µg/m3 Annual mean
Particulate Matter (PM10) 50µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times a year 24-hour mean
Particulate Matter (PM10) 40µg/m3 Annual mean
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 350µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 24 times a year 1-hour mean
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 125µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 3 times a year 24-hour mean
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) 266µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times a year 15-minute mean

Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 governs the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) process and places an obligation on all local authorities to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas, ensuring compliance with EU limit values. Local Air Quality Management requirements help to drive work to improve air quality in South Tyneside. Environmental Health Air Quality specialists have worked with Transport and Public Health colleagues to continue to reduce pollutant levels throughout the borough, positively impacting the health and wellbeing of residents. Air quality monitoring, data analysis and ratification is undertaken continuously and is used to produce an Annual Air Quality Status Report to Defra. These reports are subject to appraisal and approval by Defra. Where levels of pollutants are found to exceed Air Quality Objective Levels an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be declared and an Air Quality Action Plan adopted to address the exceedance.

Local air quality monitoring within South Tyneside

Monitoring for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is undertaken at 3 continuous monitoring stations located at Tyne Dock and Boldon Lane in South Shields, and at Edinburgh Road in Jarrow. In addition, 44 diffusion tubes for non-continuous monitoring are strategically placed throughout the borough. PM10 is monitored at two of the continuous monitoring stations (Tyne Dock and Edinburgh Road) and a PM2.5 level can be derived from the PM10 annual mean. All monitoring sites have been mapped and are available online.

Air Quality Management Areas

In 2006 two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA’s) were designated by Order in South Tyneside. AQMA’s were declared following modelled exceedances of the NO2 annual mean at Boldon Lane/Stanhope Road in South Shields and at the Lindisfarne roundabout/ Leam Lane, Jarrow.

An AQMA designation is designed to ensure that an action plan is established to improve air quality and progress is made to bring the areas in to compliance.

A Screening Assessment relative to both AQMAs was completed in October 2021 consolidating the following evidence from monitoring data and emissions trends:

  1. Ratified and adjusted NO2 data from 2016-2020 continuous and non – continuous monitoring demonstrating that at both AQMAs, concentrations remain below the annual objective level of 40µg/m3
  2. The annual average NO2 levels at all diffusion tube sites are significantly less than 60µg/m3, indicating that an exceedance of the 1-hour mean objective would be unlikely.
  3. A predicted downward trend in background NO2 concentrations in both AQMAs, with a reduction of 5.38 µg/m3 predicted at AQMA 1 from 2018 – 2030 and a reduction of 5.27 µg/m3 at AQMA 2 from 2018 – 2030.
  4. The Lindisfarne and The Arches major transport schemes have improved congestion and traffic flow. Although air quality improvements have not been quantified, modelling for both schemes suggests that the annual objective level for NO2 would not be breached at either scheme location.
  5. A targeted feasibility study was undertaken in 2018 and modelling results demonstrated that NO2 levels were below the annual objective level. The study area encompassed AQMA 2.

Overall measurements of NO2 within both AQMA’s have demonstrated compliance with national air quality objectives for NO2, consistently over a five-year period since 2016. This position, plus the advancement of key local authority schemes and other initiatives to further improvements in local air quality, brought forward through this Local Air Quality Strategy, supports revocation of the existing Air Quality Management Areas.

The screening assessment was submitted as part of the Air Quality Status Report 2022 and was accepted by Defra. The Council will continue to undertake monitoring in the existing AQMA locations, alongside monitoring borough-wide, in order to demonstrate continued compliance with EU limit values.

Aim of the Strategy

The aim of South Tyneside’s Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan is to better understand and mitigate the impact of growth on air quality, improving the health and wellbeing of residents, and helping to ensure that South Tyneside is a place where people live healthy, happy and fulfilled lives. In delivering this we will commit to the following strategic objectives:

  1. Create closer working relationships between Council directorates and external partners to ensure air quality is considered at every level;
  2. Provide high quality information and guidance on local air quality to members of the public;
  3. Stimulate sustainable economic growth, including a focus on reducing emissions at the planning stage.
  4. Create a focus on active travel, including the promotion of cycling and walking, along with public transport and reducing the need to travel;
  5. Ensure that the Council leads by example, minimising emissions and supporting sustainable working practices.
  6. Implement measures to reduce traffic and congestion related emissions, addressing road network flow and functionality;
  7. Regulate domestic and commercial air quality using existing regulatory powers.


Vehicles and fuels

There are challenges and opportunities in relation to reducing air pollutants associated with road transport, in particular NO2 and PM10 and PM2.5. Specific transport schemes that are expected to have a positive impact upon air quality are detailed in the Council’s Integrated Transport Plan.

We will seek to improve air quality within the Borough by:

  • Promoting more sustainable modes of transport;
  • Promotion and installation of Electric Vehicle charging points; and
  • Reducing the need to travel.
  • Working with partners to promote public transport
  • Formulate a ‘taxi vehicle ageing’ policy which will see a gradual improvement in the taxi fleet composition.
  • Ensuring that businesses that work/contract with the council have green fleet and carbon neutral ambitions.
  • Promote sustainability and reduce our own emissions associated with Council operations.

Spatial planning

Our Local Development Plan sets out the development strategy for the Borough up to 2036 including the scale and distribution of growth proposed for housing and economic development.

The Air Quality section of the Local Development Plan states that new development proposals will only be accepted where it does not: Lead to further deterioration of air quality, create any new areas that exceed air quality limits, delay the attainment of compliance with legal limits in areas where these are currently exceeded.

All developers must refer to the document Validation of Applications in Tyneside 2019 to ascertain whether a development meets the criteria for undertaking an air quality assessment (AQA). The purpose of an AQA is to ensure that if any adverse changes to air quality is predicted relevant mitigation measures are incorporated into the development from the outset.

New development should:

Incorporate good neighbourhood design

  • Enhance neighbourhood walkability
  • Build complete and compact neighbourhoods
  • Enhance connectivity with safe and efficient infrastructure
  • Public services should be joined up and there is easier access to public transport and other sustainable choices such as cycling and walking.
  • New developments should not create a ‘street canyon’ effect to inhibit effective pollutant dispersal.

Consider transport

  • Provision of active travel infrastructure
  • Provision of public transport
  • Prioritise active travel and road safety
  • Enable mobility for all ages and activities
  • Where development generates ‘significant’ additional traffic a detailed travel plan should be submitted (with provision to measure its implementation and effect) which sets out measures to encourage sustainable means of transport.
  • Provide at least 1 Electric Vehicle (EV) ‘Rapid Charge’ point per 10 residential dwelling and or 1000m², where onsite parking is provided for residential dwellings, EV charging points for each parking space should be made.

In addition to the above, South Tyneside Council is looking to commence a project using specialist consultants to undertake a borough wide air quality modelling exercise based upon development proposed in the Local Plan. Projected modelling results will provide a cumulative impact assessment of all development. Areas that may be at risk of exceeding the national objective levels for NO2 and particulate matter will be identified and further consideration will be given to proposed mitigation measures required to ensure compliance.


Industrial sources of air pollution are controlled by local authorities under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 1999. Local authorities also have controls over smaller industrial and commercial sources, largely through the Clean Air Act 1993, with its associated control of stack heights.

Regulatory focus is on new installations and those with significantly changed emissions; any new/changes to installations would be picked up via the planning process. Officers ensure that any development complies with Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations and the Clean Air Act 1993.

Behavioural change

Behavioural interventions aimed at improving air quality, generally comprise educational and awareness-raising initiatives as well as incentivisation and training provision.

The key message from the Review of Interventions to Improve Outdoor Air Quality and Public Health published by Public Health England in March 2019 is that as a general principle, isolated behaviour change interventions have little impact on improving air quality. The highest potential to improve air quality and public health outcomes is associated with combining behavioural interventions with other policy and structural interventions. Raising awareness in itself is not enough to effect change; It must be done in conjunction with the interventions set out in the themes above and the action plan below.

The review identified that many interventions previously implemented around air quality lacked links to recognised behaviour change framework. It is well recognised that, as demonstrated by Michie et al in The Behaviour Change Wheel: A New Method for Characterising and Designing Behaviour Change Interventions for behaviour change interventions to be effective it is essential that people have the capability, motivation and opportunity to change. In delivering South Tyneside’s Local Air Quality Strategy we will ensure that all behaviour change interventions follow this model in order to increase our likelihood of success when encouraging mitigation measures that encourage behaviour change within the attached action plan.

A diagram with boxes labelled 'Capability', 'Motivation' and 'Opportunity' all linked, and pointing towards another box labelled 'Behaviour'.

Air pollution, like many other threats to public health, is a delicate subject and care needs to be taken to ensure that communication on the issue is well received and minimises the risk of misinterpretation or unintended consequences.

In 2013 Defra carried out some in depth qualitative research that looked at how to deliver effective communication around air quality. They went on to publish six recommended principles that should be considered in any communication with the public.

In the delivery of this strategy the Council and partners will ensure that the six principles outlined above are duly considered in all public communications.

Action plan

No Measure Theme SRO KPI Completion Comments Link to objective
1 Increase the number of Automated Traffic Counters for Cycles and Vehicles Vehicles and Fuels Infrastructure and Transport Use data to highlight congestion/ areas that require further intervention Ongoing Increased cycle counters and Cycling use within the borough 4
2 Increase Public Transport Reliability Vehicles and Fuels Nexus/Public Transport Operators Improved reliability and passenger numbers Ongoing Monthly / Annual Patronage Figures 4
3 Increased ULEV Usage and Vehicle Ownership Vehicles and Fuels Infrastructure and Transport Increase the number of ultra-low vehicles within the Borough Ongoing STC has a successful track record of making external funding bids to allow for network expansions 4
5 Investment / Installation in Electric Charging Infrastructure Vehicles and Fuels Infrastructure and Transport Reduced emissions, Improved air quality Ongoing Additional charging points will be implemented using external funding. 4
6 Delivery of the Nexus Metro New Fleet Vehicles and Fuels Nexus Increase public travel use 2023 External Funding secured from Central Government, but not to be delivered until 2023. 4
7 Reduce emissions related to traffic flow, through the upgrade of key road junctions with Intelligent Transport Solutions. Vehicles and Fuels Strategic Transport Reduced emissions, Improved air quality Ongoing Delivery of the ITS project associated with the Transforming Cities Bid 6
8 Council Fleet to investigate options for electric fleet including Taxi’s Vehicles and Fuels Fleet Management Reduced emissions, improved air quality 2023 Council is to investigate options to trial alternative fuel vehicles from 2022 5
9 Introduction of an ageing taxi licence policy to improve engine specifications. Vehicles and Fuels Licensing Reducing emissions from taxi fleet due to improved engine specification across fleet Ongoing LA’s agreeing to gradual change. New vehicles registered will have to meet specific criteria 5
10 Taxi Licensing incentive scheme Vehicles and Fuels Licensing Reducing emissions from taxi fleet due to improved engine specification across fleet Ongoing Refund of 2 years taxi license if vehicles are upgraded to hybrid/electric 5
11 Completion of the A19 Testos and Downhill lane junction improvements Vehicles and Fuels Highways England Providing a safe and serviceable road network Complete Scheme completed March 2022 6
12 Reduce emissions related to traffic flow, through the upgrade of key road junctions with Intelligent Transport Solutions. Vehicles and Fuels Strategic Transport Reduced emissions, Improved air quality Ongoing Delivery of the ITS project associated with the Transforming Cities Bid 6
13 Ensure air quality is considered within planning process to allow effective use of planning conditions Spatial Planning Environmental Health Planning applications consider Air Quality impacts Ongoing/ appraised annually Assessment of all new planning applications as received and reviewed annually 3
14 Undertake borough wide air quality/traffic modelling exercise based upon proposed development in the Local Plan Spatial Planning Environmental Health Have a better understanding of the effects on future development upon air quality June 23 Work will commence once the Local Plan has been finalised 3
15 Ensuring new developments have adequate travel plans that are continuously reviewed and updated Spatial Planning Infrastructure and Transport Increase the number of Travel Plans within the Borough Ongoing Annual review of no. of travel plans 3
16 Ensure that those businesses that require pollution prevention and control regulation have the required permits Industry Environmental Health Ensure appropriate businesses are effectively regulated Ongoing Annual permit review 7
17 Work with businesses to encourage the use of active travel modes and promotion of public transport Behaviour Change Infrastructure and Transport Reduced emissions, Improved air quality Ongoing External Funding Opportunities through the Active Travel Fund and Transforming Cities Fund 4
18 Dissemination of Travel Information to reduce congestion and increase Public Transport usage Behaviour Change Infrastructure and Transport Reduced emissions, Improved air quality Ongoing Work with public transport providers and Regional UTMC team to influence travel behaviour 4
19 Influence behavioural change as part of the school run Behaviour Change Infrastructure and Transport Increase the number of Hands up Surveys. Increased use of active travel modes. Potential for exclusion zones around schools Ongoing Targeted schemes at schools to influence travel to school through safe routes to school and other schemes such as bikeability and school streets. 4
20 STC promoting electric vehicles through an employer car lease scheme Behaviour Change Infrastructure and Transport Increased electric vehicles leading to reduced Emissions Ongoing Council car leasing scheme is promoting EV / Hybrid vehicles as options 5
21 Ensure that businesses have green fleet and carbon neutral ambitions Behaviour Change Economic Growth Reduced emissions from vehicles from businesses Ongoing Council working with businesses to improve carbon neutral ambitions 5
22 Promote sustainability and reduce our own emissions Behaviour Change Fleet Management Reduced emissions by adjusting council procurement process Ongoing Council promotes EV pool cards, cycle to work scheme and has other incentives 5
23 Set up an Air Quality Steering Group Behaviour Change Environmental Health, Infrastructure and Transport, Fleet Management, Public Health Ensuring that all external funding opportunities are considered Ongoing Quarterly meetings are undertaken 1
24 Raise awareness of air pollution amongst residents, businesses and visitors Behaviour Change Environmental Health Ensuring AQ is promoted on Council website/ Go Smarter work stream schools/ businesses Ongoing Completed as part of ASR 2
25 Consider ways of disseminating messages about air quality Behaviour Change Public Health Increased awareness Ongoing Improved communications required Air Quality Grant Funding Bid submitted (Decision Feb 2023) for improved website 2
25 Delivery of Metro Station Accessibility Improvements through Healthier Metro scheme Behaviour Change Infrastructure and Transport Increased public transport use / Improved safety On site Scheme being constructed 4
26 Delivery of Bikeability project within South Tyneside Behaviour Change Road Safety School children trained in terms of cycling training as in the former cycling proficiency Ongoing each year 3000 school children are trained each year 4
27 Implementation of school streets within South Tyneside Behaviour Change Road Safety Promotion of Active Travel 2 schools are to be piloted for delivery in 2023 School streets will look to reduce parking around school entrances thus improving road safety and reducing emissions 4